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Last updated Oct. 6, 2017
When the weather is hot outside our door we have the privilege to turn on our air cooling system. For most of us that is an evaporative air cooler or an air conditioner. Some of us still try to use fans and other methods to stay cool when they day become unbearably hot.
It seems we cannot make it through the hot season without an air cooling system of some sort. They are imperative to our health and comfort. They keep our bodies cool, our health strong and our mood happy. At some point during summer, we can even say that our individual air cooling system keeps us sane in the sweltering heat.
Without modern technology it is easy, but what did people do a thousand years ago to stay cool and calm in the summer sun? How did they keep their homes cool? Ever wondered about the history of evaporative cooling? It is important to learn from our past generations and civilizations and so for curiosities sake, let’s explore this question and find some answers.
How did they stay cool a thousand years ago?
Dwellings types depended on the part of the world a person lived. Homes were practically built to the surroundings whether they were huts, shacks, crude apartments in a large city, castles, or other abodes. Homes were built with cold and heat in mind. In areas of the world that experienced a lot of heat, single homes could be carefully placed to accommodate the weather.
Building a home near a copse of trees afforded some shade. If caves were nearby they could give cool air in the summer. Homes were also built so windows could get a nice cross-current flow of air to cool the inside of the house down. Homes were also built by bodies of water when applicable.
In other parts of the world, homes were built with tile or wood floors to help keep the house cool in the summer. Rugs were then put down in the winter to help hold in heat. Ceilings were built higher to allow the heat to rise and the room to stay cooler.
An ancient method to keep the house cool when it could not be built near one of the above-mentioned ways was to create the cool air to bring the internal temperature of the house down. This was done by creating an evaporative air cooling system for the home. Let us not forget that mankind was just as intelligent then as now only their technology was not so advance.
They had to make the same devices in different ways. An evaporative air cooling system was easy enough to make and this method is still used today in areas of the world without electricity. The whole system works on water and air found in the world a thousand years ago as it is today.
In the Dark ages, most of the window was without glass panes. In fact, only the wealthy had them and the glass was comprised of small glass pebbles all melted together. Chances were that no one could see out them and they were merely for decorative purposes plus to let in a little light and keep drafts out.
Most of the population had open windows. They were small so drafts could be minimized while light could be allowed in. These open windows allowed air into the house.
In the summer when the air was hot, people would soak cloths in water then hang them to cover the windows. This hot air blowing through the wet cloths produced cool air inside the home. This method followed history down the timeline and is still used today in cultures where electricity is unavailable.
The modern evaporative air cooler follows this same natural process of pushing the warm outside air through water-soaked pads, producing cool air that is then distributed throughout the home.
Wearing clothing in the heat should be an easy thing. Most of will throw on a pair of shorts and a tank top or short sleeved shirt in hot weather and think we are dressing appropriately but that is modern reasoning and not at all what they did a thousand years ago. Back then women would dress in long-sleeved cotton dresses- long and flowing.
Loose dresses with hidden layers to protect them from the heat. The body would sweat and that layer of moisture would stay on the skin under the clothes providing natural cooling to the body. Men would dress in simple pants and long skirts or tunics. Thon protection afforded them the same cooling between lightweight fabrics and the sweat of the skin.
In hot areas today, many dresses with the same principle in mind. Loose, flowing garments, long sleeved and long pants or skirts in cotton fabrics to keep the sun off the skin.
Shorts and tank tops do not protect the skin from the damage a hot sun can cause. Long and loose garments do as well as add that layer of sweat to keep the skin cool during the heat of the day.
Life was different a thousand years ago but people are people and the human ingenuity was the same. They set trends and methods that are still used today, tried and true and complete in their effectiveness.
We learn from our past. We improve on the things that need improving and we keep those traditions and methods that long-ago man got right.
That is the reason why evaporative air coolers today still work on those basic principles developed long ago. Natural air is best and when there is a way to cool that air using natural components that are not harsh on the family, home or the environment, that way is the best way to keep the home cool and the family happy and healthy just as man did so long ago.
If you have any further questions, contact us and we would be happy to help you.